It’s daunting to realize how long I’ve been writing about film history and how many fascinating people I’ve gotten to interview. When the folks at boutique publisher GoodKnight Books asked if I had any material for an anthology I realized I did: a number of interviews from Film Fan Monthly, which I started editing and publishing when I was 15, as well as interviews and research stories from my more recent publishing venture Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy. None of this had ever been collected in book form before. The result: Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom, just published today!

Television gave new life to veterans like Buster Keaton and Joe E. Brown, as I chronicle in my book

It’s been four years since my last book, the final edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, and I am genuinely excited about this new venture—in part because I’m working with publishers Robert and Mary Matzen, who treat each project with tender loving care, and because every word in this book is mine. It’s my “baby,” and I couldn’t be prouder.

I’ve written new introductions to each section to put them into context. “Early Interviews” tells how I came to talk to such luminaries as Burgess Meredith, Anita Loos, Madge Evans, Henry Wilcoxon, Joan Blondell, and George O’Brien when I was just a kid. Imagine sitting in a coffee shop talking about Sunrise with its star more than forty years after the movie was made, or chatting with the woman who wrote screenplays for D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks when she was still a teenager herself.

Francis Lederer and Ginger Rogers in Romance in Manhattan (1935), one of the obscure movies I review in capsule form as part of a series called RKO Revisited

Decades later I created a newsletter where I could write about anything that caught my fancy—from the genesis of Busby Berkeley’s Depression anthem “Remember my Forgotten Man” from Gold Diggers of 1933 to the striking number of songs heard on the soundtrack of Casablanca—not just “A Time Goes By.” Digging through production files and talking to experts in their field is my idea of fun. A website is a wonderful creative outlet, but there’s nothing like holding a publication in your hand. That’s why I’m so glad Hooked on Hollywood has come to fruition, in a good-looking, hefty paperback edition. You can purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, even at brick-and-mortar bookstores from coast to coast. (What a concept!)

I hope you enjoy it. The book represents a lifetime of experiences, which I am delighted to share with fellow film buffs of all ages.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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April 2024